SPOKANE – Top-ranked Gonzaga went undefeated through the West Coast Conference last season, but the road looks a little tougher this year.
For the second straight game, the Gonzaga men needed to come back to beat a WCC rival.
Killian Tillie scored 20 points and blocked a potential tying shot in the closing seconds to help the Zags beat Pepperdine 75-70 for their 32nd consecutive home victory.
Filip Petrusev scored 16 points and Joel Ayayi had 12 for Gonzaga (16-1 overall, 2-0 WCC). The Zags have the longest home winning streak in the country.
But Gonzaga coach Mark Few was critical of his team after the game.
“We turned the ball over way, way too much,” Few said about Gonzaga’s 17 turnovers. “That was the story tonight. We were trying too hard on the offensive end.”
But Few praised Tillie for “an unbelievably courageous effort. He really helped us tonight with his energy.”
Admon Gilder added 11 points and Corey Kispert had 10 for the Zags.
Petrusev had 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Colbey Ross scored 24 points for Pepperdine (7-9, 0-2), which led 53-51 with 11:24 remaining. His three-point try with six seconds left was blocked by Tillie.
“Our guys competed, competed hard,” said Waves coach Lorenzo Romar, a former Washington Huskies coach. “They were just too big down low for us.”
Zags women win
SAN DIEGO – Jessie Loera of Moses Lake had 13 points and seven assists and the 17th-ranked Gonzaga women’s team overcame a season-high 23 turnovers to defeat San Diego 57-42 for its 12th straight victory.
Jill Townsend added 11 points and LeeAnne Wirth had 10 for the Zags (14-2, 3-0 WCC), who made up for their sloppiness by pounding the Toreros (8-7, 2-2) 40-17 on the boards.
“This was a great way to end a really tough road trip,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said. “We were able to overcome a high turnover number with a huge effort on the glass. We stayed focused on our defensive assignments and for the most part did a good job executing the defensive game plan.”
Madison Pollock, a senior guard from Snohomish, led San Diego scorers with 11 points.